Leadership / 01.30.24
INTIX 2024: Highlights From Day 1
Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire.
Elvis fans will immediately recognize these lyrics from the start of his hit song “Viva Las Vegas.” The line is also a great description of the impact that our host city and the INTIX 2024 conference are having on more than 1,500 ticketing professionals who have journeyed to the entertainment mecca from 28 countries.
Opening and Welcome General Session
INTIX and the ticketing industry are global, so hearing different perspectives and learning from each other is vital. The conference opened with precisely that, three global representatives to share their expertise on ticketing, technology and emerging trends.
Michael McDermott, General Manager of the Americas for SECUTIX, shared insights from the company’s 400+ customers around the world, many of which are based in Europe and South America. After revealing that 60% of all e-commerce is now transacted through mobile phones according to a recent study, McDermott described how being mobile-first is top of mind with the majority of SECUTIX users.
“The conversation is around how do we become engaged like the Ubers or the mobile-first technology companies, which have presented to every one of us in this room a simple and native way to engage and participate and spend money,” he said, adding that live event companies want to gain that type of control through a mobile phone.
Entertainment organizations are also looking to leverage technology in new and innovative ways. SECUTIX client Wimbledon is using the resale platform to do good. If fans are unable or do not want to attend a match, they can sell their tickets back to Wimbledon, which then resells those seats. The money earned from those sales is donated.
“Part of their fundraising mission is to use the resell platform for those unused tickets, or the tickets that can't be used for the rest of the day,” McDermott said. “It is creating unique value in their brand, their identity and their mission. That is an interesting way that we are seeing how technology can be used to gauge and engage those fans and understand who their real fans are.”
SECUTIX is also seeing organizations use data scientists to help inform strategic decisions that drive new revenue goals and pricing strategies.
McDermott opens the Inspiration Stage on Wednesday morning with his presentation, Revolutionizing the Game. He will discuss the strategic shift to in-house ticketing in European sports and entertainment and why the U.S. market is primed for this change.
Tom Nolan, Head of Global Ecosystem for Spektrix, shared perspectives on how the industry can evolve its thinking about technology and how we work with people.
“We tend to look inwards for solutions in our sector, and this is true for all the regions that I work in,” Nolan said. “Some of the things that I hear at conferences and events [include], ‘What are other organizations like ours doing?’ ‘Others may be having trouble recruiting, but they require prior box office experience even when that isn't really truly necessary for the role.’”
When it comes to recruitment, Nolan says that we cannot continue recruiting from the same pool.
“Look at the last job description [you wrote] or the last advertisement you posted,” Nolan challenged. “Does it require previous box office experience? Do you require experience with a particular ticketing software? If so, think about all the amazing people with great customer service, experts who would easily be able to pick up new technology that you are missing the opportunity to meet with currently.”
Kim Tran, Director of Policy and Governance for Live Performance Australia, is in a unique position of overseeing the code of practice for her country’s ticketing and events industry. She also develops industry best practices and advocates government for policy decisions.
“In Australia, there are consumer protection laws. These laws prohibit companies from engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct, false and misleading representations, and unconscionable conduct,” Tran explained. “I want to give you a couple of examples of what I mean … In Australia, there are circumstances when you must give a refund. These are explained in Australia's ticketing code of practice. You cannot make the blanket statement of no refunds or exchanges because it misleads consumers about their rights under consumer law.”
Tran explained that you cannot advertise any offer that is in limited supply and that drip pricing, the opposite of all-inclusive pricing in the U.S., is illegal. Further, the regulator’s view is that a rescheduled show should be considered canceled, and therefore consumers should receive a refund. The regulator is also watching the evolution of ticket protection and ticket insurance. They are interested in the rationale for this type of product due to concerns that it is being promoted to raise company revenues versus providing consumer flexibility.
Australia has ticket resale limitations that vary by state, including a 10% cap on the amount for which a ticket can be sold above face value. There are also resale restrictions for what is referred to as a declared event, which recently has included Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, major musicals and the Australian Open, among others.
Following the opening general session, INTIX conference attendees heard from Roger Jones, a 27-year ticketing industry veteran and the owner of VegasTickets.com. Jones spoke about giving back as a core value for his firm and how supporting INTIX’s philanthropic work is a natural synergy.
“I realize how important continuing education is,” Jones said, referencing his generous support for the INTIX PD&E fund. “I realize how important it is not to feel like you are alone, that we all have challenges, that you are not the only person in the weeds every day trying to make things happen.”
After the general session, attendees gathered for a networking coffee break thanks to sponsor Bravo Tickets.
Mara Hazzard-Wallingford, Chief Growth Officer at Tessitura Network, and John Jakovich, Chief Innovation Officer, led a workshop titled “Making Innovation Routine: Practical Steps for Creating a Culture of Innovation.” Among the vital messages they shared, the secret lies in starting small and innovation is everybody’s job.
Innovative cultures rely on new ideas, said Jakovich, before raising a leadership lesson from Creativity, Inc. “Protecting the new means safeguarding new ideas from negative influences that can hinder their development. So, think for a second about a fresh, new, fragile idea that can come up and encounter the pessimism, the skepticism, and all the corporate machinery that every one of us is responsible for developing,” he said. “It can just stomp it out, right? Protecting the new means nurturing these ideas, nurturing them a bit so that they are a little more fully developed and they can withstand that constructive feedback. It is essentially about creating an ecosystem and learning organization that can allow fledgling ideas to flourish by minimizing barriers and maximizing security.”
Embracing a culture of team safety, validated learning and experimentation will also contribute to the process of innovation.
In parallel, professionals presented Villages on topics including common challenges and themes across the industry in a session sponsored by Ticketmaster and harnessing the power of event technology featuring experts from Leap Technology. Spektrix led a Village session on maximizing the potential to drive revenue and build relationships and Kay Burnham of Perceiving Possibilities educated attendees on thriving in the midst of change.
The Ticketmaster Sports Village
The Leap Event Technology Entertainment Village
INTIX UPLevel Leadership in partnership with Tixly
Sponsored by accesso, the INTIX 2024 Welcome Lunch showcased speakers, VenuesNow Ticketing Star award winners and more.
Ken Solky, President of LasVegasTickets.com, has been an INTIX member for decades. Solky stepped up to Roger Jones’ donation and the INTIX Philanthropy Program was born from those gifts.
“Ken is a kind, generous, funny ticketing pro who treats his clients, customers and his industry with respect. He gives back to his family, colleagues, community and to us,” Andersen said. “I think he also holds the record for the number of auction packages he has bought over the years [in support of the INTIX PD&E fund] as well.”
“INTIX was BOMI when I first joined and came to one of these conferences,” Solky told attendees. “Back in the ‘80s, I came in a suit of armor because I was a secondary market ticket guy, and you didn’t really like me so much. Obviously, that’s changed a lot over the years. I am proud to be part of the INTIX family and I honor and respect the INTIX family a lot.”
The INTIX Surprise Boxes are back for 2024 in support of the PD&E fund, with special thanks to Cedar Packaging for creating a slick new reusable folder to hold the prizes, and to Roger Jones and Ken Solky for underwriting the philanthropy program. Just like an in-person first-day sale back in the day, INTIX members can line up for Surprise Boxes in advance of the Wednesday 3 p.m. on-sale.
Joe Wettstead, VP of Client Success, Live Entertainment for accesso, and Wendi Yanez, Senior Sales Director of Ticketing, talked about memory-making moments, including the Peak-End Theory. This theory argues that patrons and fans judge past experiences based almost entirely on how they were at their peak.
“[This includes] high or low, good or bad, as well as how [the experience] ended,” Wettstead said. “Supporting research finds that net pleasantness or unpleasantness is almost entirely disregarded. As guests are planning out their next event and determining whether to include you in the itinerary, they think back to the feeling and perception they had following their last visit. Research shows that feeling and perception is based on one peak moment, whether it was positive or negative.”
“Every experience does not have to have that wow factor, but every experience does need to be hassle and friction-free,” Yanez said. “Otherwise, you risk introducing those negative peaks into the guest experience, and they may remember their entire visit by that one negative memory.”
VenuesNow Ticketing Stars
INTIX has a fantastic ongoing partnership with VenuesNow. The publication’s editorial team produces the INTIX quarterly, which showcases ticketing, the people, the challenges, the trends and our industry’s stories. This allows for the continued growth of the ticketing voice to the industry at large.
VenuesNow has recognized many of our industry’s best and brightest for almost two decades with the VenuesNow Ticketing Star Awards. Ryan Borba, Managing Editor at Pollstar and VenuesNow, joined us to present the class of 2024. The recipients are:
- Maria Fulay, Senior Director, Ticket Operations, SoFi Stadium YouTube Theater and Hollywood Park
- Rosalyn Maclean, Director, Ticket Operations, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
- Molly Landis, Box Office Manager, Hard Rock Live Sacramento
- Nicole Raymond, Vice President, Ticketing, Moody Center
- Bayley Haberman, Senior Director, Ticket Operations, Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
- Baker Koppelman, Sr. Vice President of Ticket Sales and Operations, Baltimore Ravens (Editor’s Choice)
After lunch, ticketing pros attended various breakout sessions organized by venue type. These were followed by a networking break sponsored by ExperienceNow.
The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the most iconic and decorated organizations in professional sports, captivating millions of passionate fans worldwide. At INTIX 2024, Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan discussed how the team’s commitment to excellence extends to every facet of the fan experience — from ticketing to in-event entertainment, touchless transactions, world-class food and beverage options and community engagement.
“For four decades, INTIX has been instrumental in shaping the way we approach ticketing to ensure it's not just a transaction but an integral part of the extraordinary guest experience,” Morgan said in her opening remarks. “Your innovation, dedication and leadership continue to inspire us and what we do within the Raiders organization.”
She said, “I am so excited to be at the helm of the team that has planned on deepening its roots here in Nevada and giving back to the communities that have given so much to us. But as we all know, there is truly no ‘I’ in team, and I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today with the Raiders without an amazing group of team members around me … I am so lucky to have a team of forward-thinking and innovative employees that do not take no for an answer.”
Following her opening remarks, Morgan joined television journalist, philanthropist and moderator Marianne Banister for a lively discussion. She shared insights on the day-to-day operations of the Raiders, how the organization listens to fans and crafts distinctive experiences to keep them coming back, pushing boundaries, her inspiring professional journey, how she is breaking barriers as the first Black female team president in NFL history, her vision for the future and more.
Exhibition Hall Opening
The INTIX Exhibition Hall grand opening sponsored by SeatGeek was buzzing with excitement as it opened to showcase the very best solutions our industry has to offer. This is the place to find everything you need to keep your ticket office, organization and venue running efficiently and profitably. There were even a few surprise guests!
Double Eagle Consulting stands out on the Exhibit Hall floor as one of the only pure-play IT consulting companies focusing purely on the ticketing marketplace. Currently, the firm provides strategic planning and other vital services to more than 50 cultural and nonprofit clients. “Whether it is cultural, sports [organizations or] museums, we work heavily in cyber security and artificial intelligence around contact center and business continuity,” Founder and CEO Terri-Ann Feindt said.
“We feel very welcomed by INTIX … and [the conference] is fantastic,” she added. “This is a very energetic group. I am reconnecting with people I have known for 20+ years in a different capacity when I was on the client side.”
Also showcasing its expertise and services in the Exhibition Hall, Allianz Partners is a global assistance and protection company that offers travel and event ticket insurance. The company has customers in Europe, the Americas and AsiaPac and is the largest insurer in the space.
“We feel the human connection here with the industry because Allianz stands for making the human connection and bringing insurance closer to people,” Begench Atayev, Head of Product Management Innovation for Allianz Partners in the United States, said. “A lot of people have a negative impression of insurance as being more of a cold-hearted industry. We’re not. We believe that we are different than other insurers. We provide you with the latest and greatest technology, bringing data and analytics close to your fingertips when you work with us, but we also provide your customers, your audience, with that human touch. You can always pick up the phone and call us, find us on your mobile device, access your policy and file a claim easily. If you are a partner, you can always talk to us. We are not one of those companies that relies on technology to do everything. We also have people behind the scenes working with you, with your customers, and helping them whatever the situation might be.”
Atayuv adds, “We love the industry. We love the people of the industry … We will support and always have your backs.”
Red61 tickets for some of the largest festivals in the world, including Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide Fringe.
“Day one was great,” Anja Arvo, Presales Manager for Red61, said. “I started with the mentorship networking event. I ran into an old colleague from Australia. We caught up for six hours, and today I’m seeing even more people. I think the education sessions this year are really the best they have ever been.”
Arvo added, “INTIX is such a great organization. We are a very proud sponsor and exhibitor. Red61 attends year after year because there is a great benefit for everyone. There is something to learn every single day, every time you come.”
Later in the evening, attendees were ready to mix and mingle. The After Hours party with Logitix was the perfect place to meet up with ticketing friends and colleagues. Thank you, Logitix, for hosting this gathering and for your partnership.
The INTIX 2024 conference continues on Wednesday with more opportunities to learn, connect and ignite success. Attendees will hear from powerhouse women in the INTIX Town Hall, meet with top-flight vendors in the Exhibit Hall, discover knowledge in conference workshops, celebrate colleagues at the annual INTIX Awards Lunch and more.
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Tags: Leadership , INTIX2024